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One is from Najib Mahfuz, I took this sentence from his book Children of the Alley, he won the Nobel Prize for literature in Oct 1988. It's a great book, trust me. As I read the Chinese vision, i have to translate it in English, there would be some mistakes.

"Work for yourself, as you are going to live forever; work for others, as you are going to die tomorrow."

Another is from movie Precious.

"Some folks got a light around them that shine for other people. I think maybe some of them was in tunnels, and in that tunnel, maybe the only light they had was inside of them. and then, even long after they escaped that tunnel, they still be shinning for everybody else."

There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people's eyes. What have you read from these sentence? I have read different require of ourselves and other people.I have read help and love. And the all works that we are doing need our faith and persistence. hope you will like these words.

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We've not yet Succeeded

Today I've begun my second week of internship but things seem progress much slower than I expected, which makes me a little bit frustrated.

Recently, Cabrini is hosting a Golf Benefit to raise its fund for next month as well as to provide a chance for people from different areas learn about our organization's aim. As it is the first big fund-raising event during my internship, I really want to do as much as I can to help the event run smoothly. On the second day of our work, Dan recommended Jenny and I to create our capacity and connection map in order to give ourselves and other staff a clear idea in which area we can contribute to. However, as college students, we have so little beneficial connections, needless to say most of them are not in Chicago. I emailed to my golf coach at school who lived in the States for over 30 years but he replied me with a pity saying he has no friend who lives in town. I emailed to all of the group members who also intern in Chicago this summer ask if they could pass our message to their supervisors, but no positive reply has been received yet.

A quote of lyric came to my mind " We've not yet succeeded. We've done what we can but no one has answered to our call(我们仍然未得胜,能做已做,无人响应)". Then, I began to think of a video on youtube Dan shared few days ago talking about whether it is possible that we build effective networks through internet. It agrees for no doubt that people can reach each other much more easier than ever before, but this also leaves a problem that the interpersonal relationships may not be as strong. The convenience of internet makes people overwhelmed in communication. In that case, some people choose to self-handicap, looking without seeing, hearing without listening. See how easy it is to share ideas on blogs, but there are still millions of blogs leaving semi-anonymous on the internet.

Nevertheless, this does NOT mean I should give up so quickly. Building effective connections via internet is the trend. It is only the way how we use it really matters. And I think this is also what I need to figure out in the past few weeks, say how to find effective connections and link them to CC T/MC. We've not yet succeeded, but eventually we will. In the same song I've quote before, there is also a sentence following illustrating my faith now.

"Since virtual things is sure win, even if it is hard, we also will try. (既然仁慈是必胜,难亦要念,难念的经)"
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Let's Get Started

I'd never imagined such experience: flying 13 hours oversea and spending most of my summer time intern in a totally new country for a non-profit organization. But now I'm here, in Chicago, the windy city, working with a group of enthusiastic members in Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection.

Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection is a non-profit organization in Chicago. Found in 1993, it aims to help kids from under privileged families to grow. If a student come to CC T/MC, he or she can not only get tutorials about their school study, but receive instructions about lives by volunteer mentors as well. It is a organization to build up connections through its volunteers' networks for the disadvantaged children and youth, in order to provide them as much chances as other young people.

When I first knew I have the working opportunity three months ago, I was both exited and nervous. China born and China bred, it is a precious chance for me to work on the other side of the world which I could only learn from books and media in the old days. On the other hand, I was also confusing how can I, as a foreigner, contribute to the organization. Majoring in International Journalism, I'm assigned to write stories about Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection on the internet to attract more people to pay attention to this program and even participate in. However, I was a little bit afraid that I could not do the writing as good as a native. Fortunately, our talk to Mr. Dan Bassill, the CEO of this volunteer-based tutor/mentor program, gave me confidence and directions where I can try to work on in the next two months.

Thanks to the worldwide internet, everyone and another has the opportunity to make their voice heard. Other than traditional media like TV, radio, newspaper and magazines, even normal people like you and me can do communication works via internet. And the most wonderful thing is, because of the internet, people with the same interest or concern can easily find each other, build their campaign, and fight for their shared goals together.

I think this is what I can do as a individual for CC T/MC. Everyday, there are tens of millions pieces of information being posted on the internet. It is so easy to have our message drawn in the information ocean. Nevertheless, the more we provide, the more chances they could be seen by others. Maybe at first, it is just my friends reading my words, but if it's interesting enough and they would share it to their friends. We should never look down on individuals' connection network. Some social study shows that the maximum number between 2 random people in the world is only SEVEN! Think about it, and that also is why Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection focus so much on connections. Connections are truly powerful!

Now, I've began my second day's work. I really have learnt something from CC T/MC, and I hope I can help others to learn it with the power of my words and individual connections.

See graphic showing Willow's network and skills
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first day

It's the first day of my intern; I'm going to stay here for almost two months. To be honest, I don't know what the company does before I came here. After Dan's introduction and Michael's video, an intern who has
worked here several years ago, I think I got the main point of this company.
That’s help youth in disadvantaged environment build up their aim and goal of
their life and help them to reach it with our connections in the world. I'm really happy that I'm going to be apart of this company. It means I'm going
to do something meaningful while some people at my age are wasting time and money
doing something useless.

There are many problems in our world and society. Each of them is an emergency;
however, individuals always think their strength is so weak when facing so many
problems, which is an excuse for doing nothing. But there are some people
making an effort. They know few individuals’ strength is weak, but a group of
people is strong enough to change something, I don’t wanna say they can change
the world, but it can change something, make some differences.

In this organization, we help people with our connections, which are the most important element in our life. We share it and benefit from it. I’m glad that my here and be a part of them. thanks for reading.

See graphics of Jenny's introduction - here and here

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T/MC Journal

I am going to start blogging here with some of my reflective thoughts as I browse the Tutor/Mentor Connection and Cabrini Connections web sites and online resources. As I near the end of my first year on staff here, and I prepare to welcome a new Northwestern University Public Interest Program Fellow (Karina Walker), I really want to think critically about strategies in this field, both on the micro and macro level. I look forward to engaging with members of this Ning group as I work through this process. Thank you for reading!
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It is a joy to see some of our 4-year mentors transition from college to graduate and start their careers. I know that the fact they personally experienced mentoring youth one-on-one will stay with them in the work place. I hope they will advocate for mentoring among more young professionals.

--enjoying a vacation with my calif family, graduating from high schools north and south,

sue sende cole 6-16-10

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Below is a map showing the mix of organizations who were part of the May Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference in Chicago.

On this map we see there were many tutor/mentor programs, some from other states, but not nearly as many programs as there are in Chicago. We see a few universities, represented. We see one donor. We see some media. This mix needs to change, to include more donors, more universities, and workforce development leaders, if we're to do more to help volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs grow.

What we need are more facilitators, helping us connect these groups, and others, in on-going discussions that take place between each conference, so that when we come together, we are all more connected to each other, not just to the T/MC.

One participant at the conference was Charles Cameron, of Social Edge. I encourage you to read the handout he presented at the conference. Then go to this discussion, and see how he's following up to expand the network building to include people who are meeting with him on the Social Edge discussion forums.

Another participant was Katie Anderson, a student from Dominican University who is volunteering with the T/MC. The map I show on this blog was created using power point. In this forum you can see how Katie and another Dominican student are using inFlow softwared donated by Valdis Krebs to create more sophisticated maps, and a better understanding of the networks that are being formed as a result of the work of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, the Conference, and people like Charles and Katie who take active volunteer roles to help.

We need more help in almost every part of what the Tutor/Mentor Connection is doing. If we can get more help we can create a better understanding of the networks we are connecting with, and share that in ways that other people can use the network to build their own networks, supporting their own organizations and missions.

Below is a worksheet that anyone can use to identify people in their own network who might help the Tutor/Mentor Connection, if they knew we existed, and if the introduction came from someone they trust. However, this is also a chart you can use to build a network of support for your own organization. Try it out, and let us know what success you have.

As a result of this network building we want to increase the number of people who don't live in poverty who are investing their own time, talent and money on a regular basis to help tutor/mentor programs in one or more communities, do more to help youth grow up to fulfill more of their adult potential.

Invite others to join this Ning group, or join the discussions on Social Edge, or post notices of other places where this type of network building is taking place. As Charles says, we can meet in many spaces, not just in our own hosted space.

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